Wide receiver Jason Avant provided the spark that ignited a fourth-quarter rally that fell just short last week in San Diego. Avant paced the offense with career-best eight-catch, 156-yard performance that included a career-long 58-yard reception.
Of course, it was Avant's acrobatic, twirling, one-handed catch in the third quarter that converted a third-and-18 and put the Eagles in position to start the rally.
While it would have been conceivable for the Eagles to look at the 28-9 deficit to the Chargers and fold in the tent for the afternoon, Avant's play showed that the Eagles would not quit. Now, Avant hopes that the late rally will inspire the team to make a strong march towards the postseason starting this Sunday in Chicago.
"Hopefully guys can bring it together. As far as talking and all of those types of things, we just need action because action speaks louder than words," Avant said. "Every guy in this locker room knows that and I'm pretty sure we're going to get their best performance this week.
"We need to continue to play hard for one another. I think that's when you get your best plays, when you stop focusing on yourself and play for the guy next to you."
Avant is usually overlooked with DeSean Jackson's amazing season and Jeremy Maclin's ability to have an immediate impact as a rookie. There was no way, however, that Avant would be hidden after his performance last Sunday.
The fourth-year receiver is typically the man who moves the chains, as he did in that pirouette of a reception. Thirty-six of his 96 career receptions, including playoffs, have come on third down. Thirty-one of those catches earned the first down, a staggering 86.1 percent success rate. This season, overall, Avant has 23 grabs for 354 yards and a touchdown.
Avant's role in the offense tends to be overlooked, just like the fact that this weekend's trip to Chicago is not just a homecoming for quarterback Donovan McNabb. It's one for Avant as well.
"This is just going to be a business trip for me," Avant said. "I may not answer my phone until Saturday, but like Don said, we really need the game. It's good to play in front of family and different things like that, but you can't let it take your focus. Hopefully, we can do that and go get a win."
McNabb didn't just say that the Eagles need this game. McNabb slapped the "must-win" label on this contest. That means it will be just like every other game for Avant.
"Every game is a must-win to me. That's the way I approach it. That's the way I try to go out and play," Avant said. "Hopefully, the team takes that on ... This team is not going to give it to us. They need the game just as bad as we do. We have to come in with the mentality of competing for four quarters."
If the Eagles had done that against the Chargers, the end result certainly would have been different. But Avant said the Eagles can't look back in the rear-view mirror.
"It's over. That's in the past. Hopefully, we can come out and execute this week and execute early so we can not push ourselves in the position we did last week," Avant said. "The Bears are a stingy defense. They've basically given up only three big plays all year. It's going to be a game where the offense has to drive the ball and be consistent. Hopefully, we'll put it together this week."